I was thinking today about the joys of social media. I was tweeting from my work desk as usual. Catching all the news as it slips past my eyes. Replying and retweeting before the thoughts fell out of view. Then, I started to analyze my tone. Confidence seemed to pour out without interruption. Hiding behind my safety wall (the internet), I spoke as an untamed beast in the electronic jungle. It’s a shame the same confidence doesn’t transpire across the circuitry into the ‘real’ world.
There are very few times my true opinions flow flawlessly out of my mouth. I’m certain my body language isn’t communicating any bode of confidence either. But behind my pic and 140 characters, I speak with authority. The best part is, I can redefine myself every second. The speed of communication is fast enough that my thoughts are erased as fast as their processed. My identity online becomes a passing glance with every new tweet and post. I guess it’s good because you’re always redefining yourself, right?
I’m torn between whether online social interaction is a way to self discovery or mental trickery. Does it allow those who can’t express themselves in the ‘real’ world to find their ‘voice?’ Or does it create an alter-ego to struggle with as you move through these different realities? Smart phones must make it exceptionally hard for someone to balance themselves. Constantly switching between different persona just crossing the street. Who are you when you get to the other side?
Will all social interaction soon be held behind closed doors? I know a few people who prolong a face-to-face interaction because their online ‘game’ is so strong. I’ve even seen people instant messaging the person sitting across from them. I get it, it’s fun, but is it healthy? When do we learn to co-exist with each other? On the streets we are just passing glances. No one even wants to muster up the strength to thank someone. I can guarantee the people who shrug you in the subway would friend you in a second online.
I can only hope this new way of communicating is a means to an end. The old “knowledge is power” proclamation. If we know more about each other before we actually meet, it will make the courtship smoother, stronger. Who knows… At this point I’ve already lost most of my faith in mankind. Maybe this is just another drop in the bucket for a society which fails to understand itself.